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TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 9:17 AM

Does anyone know of a TV ad blocker?

Google finds http://zeroguiltllc.com/addlas.html but it appears dead at least at the moment.

Since none seem to be available would developing an ad blocker even be feasible?

Perhaps one could be developed as follows:

1. Capture a grid pattern of pixels in a frame from a PC monitor displaying a TV channel and by use of an algorithm convert each frame into a single numerical value much like a file comparison routine does.

2. Detect the start of every new scene (cut) by detecting a large change in the saved numerical representation of each frame.

3. Save several frames and compare the series to all previous saved series if which found would indicate a commercial in process.

3. Block or replace the TV signal to the TV during the repeating commercial period.

The above will be a bit CPU intensive I realize however an additional hardware 10 second display delay could be implemented by use of a buffer which would provide the PC adequate time to do a search.

Perhaps todays fast CPU's and solid state HD's could provide the humongous memory this application would require if only to retain several days worth of cut scene data.

Any bright young minds care to tackle this application?

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#1

Re: TV commercial blocker?

01/31/2016 10:48 AM

Yes!

It is called the ON/OFF switch.

I leave mine permanently off and have lived a commercial-free life ever since.

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#16
In reply to #1

Re: TV commercial blocker?

02/01/2016 12:24 PM

Other than some occasional evening news, I'm with you. I just have too many other more important things to do than watch anything on the tube. Maybe when I'm retired I'll have time. But. probably not.

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#2

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 12:32 PM

I've always suspected you could detect the volume increase. You would have to detect the signal internal to the set and switch out the speaker and switch it back in when the volume returns to normal.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 12:42 PM

I could be wrong but a law was recently passed requiring the volume to remain consistent.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 1:04 PM

There was a law passed.

It's called the CALM act. Loud Commercials and the CALM Act | Federal ...

Unfortunately, we haven't killed all the lawyers yet so ways around the law have been found.

I recently took samples with my real time sound analyzer and found 10-15dB higher levels during commercials, in some frequency ranges.

I wear hearing aids and it really bothers me. I keep a remote at hand whenever I watch TV.

The TV signal supplier says they are "helpless" to do anything.

Why are TV commercials louder than the show? - NBC News

That means the loudest TV commercial will never be any louder than the loudest part of any TV program.

Reminds me of the Clean Air Act or Blue Skies Act that really allowed more air pollution than was allowed prior to passage of the act.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 2:44 PM

Books. Never a commercial. If there was you can just turn the page.

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#8
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Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 3:16 PM

I broke down and bought a Kindle to use to read on airplanes.

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#20
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Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 2:04 PM

True, but I do believe they get round it by changing the "loudness", so it appears to the human ear to be louder.....maybe the change in the frequency spectrum might be detected.....

How about this? Its for the UK though.....

http://www.tvadblocker.co.uk/

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#25
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Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/05/2016 4:19 PM

Yeah, they use 'dynamic range compression' so that while the TV show goes from a 2 (shocked silence, with only the 'ambient room sounds' barely audible) to an 8 (the one shouted word to provide emphasis to the speaker's statement) The commercial has all the audio in the 7-8 range.

It was also used a lot in the early CD music era, look up the 'loudness war' on wikipedia for details.

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#3

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 12:42 PM

Just do what most people do. Record the shows you want to see, then watch them later, fast-forwarding past the commercials.

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#10
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Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 4:17 PM

I prefer most of the older TV shows anyway. I have a Netflix subscription. I mainly use it with my IPAD while walking on the treadmill. The hour TV shows take about 42-43 minutes.

Commercial time has increased over the years. It's the typical death spiral where more commercials result in fewer viewers. The ad time is less valuable to the advertiser so more has to be sold to meet costs.

http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/commerciallength.htm

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#21
In reply to #3

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 6:22 PM

I record just 15 minutes or so and then go back and fast forward through the commercial. On the rare occasion I can't do that, the mute button works fine.

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#6

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 2:20 PM

It certainly is doable with Digital recorded video, but live tv, that's a tough nut...If I really like a series or movie, I buy it on DVD ....perhaps when we get more sophisticated computers they can filter them out, but for now it's the mute button that works for me.....or TCM...

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#9

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 3:38 PM

Yes. Turn the sound volume down/off, or watch BBC television instead.

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 4:09 AM

Doesn't work, the British Brainwashing Collusionists have shedloads of self promotion 'adverts', all with increased volume.

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#11

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

01/31/2016 10:40 PM

I followed a similar approach as an exercise about 10 years ago. My algorithm was based around using a MPEG2 compression engine and comparing the rate of change associated between frames to recognise a scene change. I then used the compression engine to derive a finger print for an advertisement based on a pixel relatedness basis. This fingerprint was stored in a surprisingly small library and used to compare against the incoming fingerprints.

The advertising placement structure of a channel was analysed to generate windows where advertising was expected to be placed. When a fingerprint was received in ad window then the desired switching action occurred. A count down clock was started to count down an advertising block (n adverts each of y secs in a block: these variables changed during the day but the TV stations were pretty good at keeping to 30sec blocks - usually to the frame. It appears that the advertisers would try to slip an extra second or 2 in and there was often an abrupt edit that was noticeable in the audio) and then the system would switch back into to clean programme.

But from 3 years ago it all got simpler for me. No TV.

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#13

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 5:30 AM

This used to be possible, at least in the analogue days of British TV broadcasting. The programming made use of the top hidden lines of the display to display a marker just before the advert came on. If you had the set adjusted so that the top lines showed, the marker was visible in the form of a flashing white square. I have no idea whether any such marker is found in current digital TV signals.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 9:59 AM

The old analog systems put the 'metadata' into the 'retrace' lines, which were 'blanked out' from the tube because this was the time that the electron gun needed to sweep up to the top of the screen, if memory serves, it was about 2-1/2 scan lines of time, which is why one 'field' of an NTSC picture was 262.5 lines; two 'fields' made one 'frame' of 525 lines,but not every nine was visible on the tube.

The retrace lines were where they put the Closed Captioning information, which the CC decoder read and interpreted into text strings, which it then inserted over the video image. We still have Closed Captioning with digital TV, so the 'space' for the metadata is still there, even if it's not in the exact format it was before. Digital can be more economical about how much time is needed to send the information. As an example, The Digital signal could be set up as follows:

[Frame Start Character] (This is the start of the 'data frame,' not the 'video frame,' USB standards also use a 'data frame' setup for their communications)

[Picture Update Start] [Size of Picture Update] [compressed MPEG video frame, with alpha channel]

[Sound Start] [Size of sound section] [compressed MP3 of audio for next 1/60th of a second]

[CC Start] [Size of CC file] [Compressed hypertext for next full second of CC data] (Sent only once a second)

[Other Metadata Start] [Size of Metadata section] [Contents of Metadata section]

[Other other Metadata start] etc.

[Frame End]

Since it takes less than 1/60th of a second for every frame to be transmitted, the remaining time can be used to send frames for every other channel your cable provider supplies. And the 'music channels' at the high end of the cable dial use even less data, because their video segment has a data size of zero for all but one data frame every 20-30 seconds.

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#15

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 12:08 PM

If you are there watching the show, hit mute. If your want to mostly avoid the commercials and save time, do what I do. I record most shows I watch on a PVR and watch later. Amazing you can watch a 2 hour movie in about 1 hr 20 minutes when you zap by the commercials.

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#17

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 12:33 PM

So here again someone wants something for nothing. The few minutes of commercial time pay for the programing. If by chance you created a device to block ads. If everyone had one. Then for what reason would they have to put the commercials on the air. Leaving that favorite program with out the funding it needs.

Then there is the Advertising Industry. They won't go down with out a fight. Soon your ad blocker will be illegal to use. As they will press to have them made illegal.

Then some lawyer will try to use the law made to control your Ad blocking device for some other purpose. It will get twisted in all other devices as bureaucrat's do.

Why can't some people just leave it alone.

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#24
In reply to #17

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/05/2016 4:14 PM

"Then there is the Advertising Industry. They won't go down with out a fight. Soon your ad blocker will be illegal to use. As they will press to have them made illegal."

The Ad Industry tried to make VCRs illegal because you could 'skip over' the commercials, it went all the way to the courts, where a judge ruled that 'time shifting' a program was not illegal.

You also find that fight going on in the internet now, people get sick and tired of the annoying pop-up ads that show up everywhere, and some of the code that inserts the ads allows ads with 'malicious packages' through to your computer, so people install ad-blocking software, then the sites that rely on ad revenue see a drop in income, and they put in code on their pages to detect ad-blocking, and either 'beg you to stop' or they redirect you away from the page you wanted and to a page where you can sign up for their monthly-fee 'premium' access, where the only real feature is 'no annoying ads.'

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#18

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 12:51 PM

"Any bright young minds care to tackle this application?"

How about an old mind? A retired man I met had a simple solution. He had a box with a volume control and a speaker. It plugged into the earphone jack. He just turned down the volume when there was a commercial. This may have been before remotes became popular.

You could shut down the increased volume of the commercials with a simple comparator circuit and a relay. I built a squelch circuit that would be similar to the opposite of that. Google squelch circuits to get ideas.

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#19

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 1:59 PM

Many online program-on-demand media suppliers/web sites offer TV programmes completely ad free. Some are pay per view while others are donation-based or totally free.

Depending on where you are you can also buy hard disk drive storage TV recorders that allow you to skip the ads in real (I believe) or slightly delayed real time (a more modern take on the good old VCR record a program and then watch it later fast forwarding through ads).

Plenty of ways around it.

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 6:30 PM

I have found that some of the "on demand" free movies and programs stop you from fast forwarding to skip the commercials. I have Time Warner Cable and Roku.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/01/2016 7:35 PM

There are a number however that have the raw ad-free programs and have nothing to do with TV schedules. Want to watch the whole season of a particular show, no problem.

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#26

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/28/2016 5:55 PM

Wikipedia provides the following "Commercial skipping" article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_skipping

By 2014 many DVR programs such as Windows Media Center, SageTV and MythTV had the capability to skip commercials segments in recorded TV broadcasts after installing third-party add-ons such as DVRMSToolbox, Comskip and ShowAnalyzer, which use various advanced techniques to locate the commercial segments in the video files and save their locations to text files. The text files can also be fed into programs such as MEncoder or DVRMSToolboxGUI which can delete the commercial segments from the recorded video files. A few third-party tools such as MCEBuddy automate detection and removal of commercials.

DVRMSToolbox: http://www.videohelp.com/software/DVRMSToolbox

DVRMSToolboxGUI: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2010419,00.asp

Comskip: http://www.kaashoek.com/comskip/

ShowAnalyzer: http://www.dragonglobal.biz/showanalyzer.html

MPlayer: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html

MCEBuddy: https://mcebuddy2x.codeplex.com/

All the above software requires a recorded media file from which to remove the commercials.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/28/2016 6:12 PM

Wow! THIS is the kind of info that surprises, both by it's quality, and it's quantity, and makes me come back looking for another miracle when I have a question to ask.

GA from me!

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/28/2016 7:06 PM

As an improvement perhaps the PC could record to HD as designed above and do a minute or two delay to allow the software to remove the commercial(s)?

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#29
In reply to #26

Re: TV Commercial Blocker?

02/29/2016 1:55 AM

Really good infos.

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